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Open Access Research article

Factors influencing the opinion of individuals in determining tumour spread after biopsy

Tayyaba Z Ansari1*, Adnan A Zaidi2, Asra Parekh1, Owais Iqbal1, Nehal Masood1, Ahmed Mateen3 and Tehseen Fatima3

Author Affiliations

1 Aga Khan University Hospital, Stadium Road, P.O. Box 3500, Karachi 74800, Pakistan

2 Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital, Main Clifton Road, Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan

3 Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (KIRAN), Gulzar-e-Hijri, K.D.A Scheme-33, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:548  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-548

Published: 20 December 2011



People often have concerns regarding tumour spread after biopsy which leads to a delay in seeking expert medical advice. The data regarding this perception is scanty. Therefore, we conducted this cross sectional study to explore the beliefs and perceptions of individuals regarding tumour spread after biopsy and the basis of those beliefs.


The survey was conducted in outpatient areas of two different tertiary care hospitals of Karachi namely Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi (AKUH) and Karachi Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (KIRAN). We interviewed 600 individuals and documented their responses on a questionnaire. There were 400 responders from Aga Khan's Consulting Clinic and 100 each from Aga Khan's Oncology Clinic and KIRAN.


Only 50% of the respondents chose biopsy as the best test for diagnosis of cancer. The level of education was statistically significant in making this choice of answer (p = 0.02) only in univariate analysis. Those individuals who were involved in the work up of cancer patients irrespective of their educational status gave more intelligent answers (p = 0.003). The tumour disturbance after biopsy was regarded as a major factor among 127 respondents (53%) who believed that biopsy could lead to spread of tumour.


Our study revealed that awareness regarding cancer diagnosis and biopsy is lacking among general public and it does not co-relate well with the level of formal education. These misconception and taboos need to be addressed in public seminars and in the media in order to increase the awareness which could facilitate prompt diagnosis.

Biopsy; Belief; Tumour spread